Lot 755
  • 755

Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of

3,000 - 5,000 USD
12,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of
  • Autograph letter signed, to Robert, Lord Spencer
  • paper
Giving news of his preparations in raising men for military service in the Low Countries ("...after mayny stopps & delayes we are now neare ready to beginner to leavy our men ... our drummes shall beate I thinke within tow dayes, wee now stay only for ... mony..."), 1 page, folio (255 x 185 mm), integral address leaf, remains of red wax armorial seal impression, [1624]; slight spotting, final verso with remains of former mount. Red cloth folding- box and morocco-backed slipcase by James Macdonald.


"Tudor Exhibition London 1889—90," exhibition slip attached to final verso — Mary, Viscountess Eccles (Christie's, New York, 14 April 2004, lot 71). acquisition: Purchased at the foregoing sale through Bernard Quaritch

Catalogue Note

A letter by Shakespeare's patron, the dedicatee of Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and a candidate for the Young Man of the sonnets. Southampton had been close to the 2nd Earl of Essex and was drawn into his abortive rising against the Queen (in which the Lord Chamberlain's Men came close to being implicated). He was freed from the Tower by James I, held a number of public offices and was a vital supporter of colonial ventures including the Virginia Company. When this letter was written he was preparing to lead a force of 6,000 against the Spanish in the Low Countries, supported with money voted by Parliament. Both the Earl and his son who accompanied him succumbed to disease in the early months of the expedition. 

No other autograph letter by Southampton has been sold at auction in forty years.